Ron Clark

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In this two-hour Archive interview, Ron Clark talks about his early life and his time in Canada as a writer for stand-up comics. He describes his big break writing for The Jimmy Dean Show, which featured Jim Henson's Muppets. He recounts writing for several other shows following that period including The Jackie Gleason Show, The Steve Allen Comedy Hour, and The Danny Kaye Show. Clark details his time writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and recalls many aspects of that show including his relationship with stars Tom and Dick Smothers, and the censorship battles the show endured with the network. He speaks of leaving the Smothers Brothers to write for Kraft Music Hall, followed by The Tim Conway Comedy Hour, That Girl, Hot L Baltimore, Ace Crawford, Private Eye, Silver Spoons and Moonlighting. He talks about his friendship and collaborations with comedy icons Mel Brooks and Peter Sellers, and concludes by discussing professional achievements and giving advice for aspiring writers. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview in a joint venture with the Writers Guild Foundation on November 23, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA.

"I would tell a writer to be as original and talented as you might want to be, but you also have to get a little lucky here and there. There are just times when things open up at the right place at the right time. Keep writing and try to get lucky is my advice."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the censorship the show faced
Ron Clark on working with Jackie Mason in the '80s
Ron Clark on writing for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour
Ron Clark on writing for The Jackie Gleason Show
Ron Clark on advice to an aspiring television writer
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on deciding he wanted to be a writer
On selling jokes to various stand-up comedians; on his comedy albums; on his education and going to the movies in Canada
On early television work writing for cartoons; on writing for The Jimmy Dean  Show and working with Jim Henson and the Muppets; on working with producer Bob Banner on The Jimmy Dean Show
On writing for The Jackie Gleason Show; on writing for The Steve Allen Comedy Hour; on writing for The Danny Kaye Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

Chapter 2

On working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the censorship the show faced; on the guests of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the behind the scenes roles of Tom and Dick Smothers; on writing the sketches for the show including for cast member Pat Paulson
On The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour tackling current events and the language on the show; on the legacy of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; on his writing partner Sam Bobrick
On writing for Kraft Music Hall; on writing for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour; on writing for The Paul Lynde Show and That Girl
On writing for Hot L Baltimore; on writing for Ace Crawford, Private Eye; on writing for Silver Spoons and Moonlighting
On working with Ed. Weinberger; on working with Mel Brooks on the feature "Silent Movie"

Chapter 3

On working with Alan King and working on various Mel Brooks films; on working with Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers on "Revenge of the Pink Panther"; on his writing process
On his experience with the Writers Guild; on mentors in his career; on professional achievements and his regrets, advice to aspiring writers, and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Ace Crawford, Private Eye

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Ron Clark on writing for Ace Crawford, Private Eye

Danny Kaye Show, The

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Ron Clark on writing for The Danny Kaye Show

Hot L Baltimore

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Ron Clark on writing for Hot L Baltimore 

Jackie Gleason Show, The

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Ron Clark on writing for The Jackie Gleason Show

Jimmy Dean Show, The

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Ron Clark on writing for The Jimmy Dean Show and working with Jim Henson and the Muppets
Ron Clark on working with producer Bob Banner on The Jimmy Dean Show

Kraft Music Hall, The

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Ron Clark on writing for Kraft Music Hall

Moonlighting

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Ron Clark on writing for Moonlighting

Silver Spoons

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Ron Clark on writing for Silver Spoons

Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The

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Ron Clark on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the censorship the show faced
Ron Clark on the guests of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the behind the scenes roles of Tom and Dick Smothers
Ron Clark on writing the sketches for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour including for cast member Pat Paulson 
Ron Clark on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour tackling current events and the language on the show
Ron Clark on the legacy of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

Steve Allen Comedy Hour, The

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Ron Clark on writing for The Steve Allen Comedy Hour

Tim Conway Comedy Hour, The

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Ron Clark on writing for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour
Topics

Advice

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Ron Clark on advice to an aspiring television writer

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the censorship the show faced
Ron Clark on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  tackling current events and the language on the show

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Ron Clark on mentors in his career

Television Industry

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Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the censorship the show faced
Ron Clark on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  tackling current events and the language on the show
Ron Clark on advice to an aspiring television writer
Professions

Writers

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Ron Clark on his writing process
Ron Clark on advice to an aspiring television writer
Genres

Comedy Series

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Ron Clark on writing for Hot L Baltimore 
Ron Clark on writing for Ace Crawford, Private Eye 
Ron Clark on writing for Silver Spoons
Ron Clark on writing for Moonlighting

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Ron Clark on writing for The Jimmy Dean Show
Ron Clark on writing for The Jackie Gleason Show
Ron Clark on writing for The Steve Allen Comedy Hour
Ron Clark on writing for The Danny Kaye Show
Ron Clark on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
Ron Clark on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  
Ron Clark on writing for Kraft Music Hall
Ron Clark on writing for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour
People

Steve Allen

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Ron Clark on writing for The Steve Allen Comedy Hour

Bob Banner

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Ron Clark on working with producer Bob Banner on The Jimmy Dean Show

Mel Brooks

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Ron Clark on working with Mel Brooks on the feature "Silent Movie" 
Ron Clark on working on various Mel Brooks films

Tim Conway

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Ron Clark on writing for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour  
Ron Clark on writing for Ace Crawford, Private Eye  starring Tim Conway

Jimmy Dean

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Ron Clark on writing for The Jimmy Dean Show and working with Jim Henson and the Muppets

Blake Edwards

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Ron Clark on working with Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers on "Revenge of the Pink Panther"

Jackie Gleason

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Ron Clark on writing for The Jackie Gleason Show

Jim Henson

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Ron Clark on writing for The Jimmy Dean Show and working with Jim Henson and the Muppets

Danny Kaye

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Ron Clark on writing for The Danny Kaye Show

Alan King

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Ron Clark on working with Alan King

Paul Lynde

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Ron Clark on writing for The Paul Lynde Show

Jackie Mason

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Ron Clark on working with Jackie Mason in the '80s

Peter Sellers

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Ron Clark on working with Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers on "Revenge of the Pink Panther"

Tom Smothers

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Ron Clark on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the censorship the show faced

Dick Smothers

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Ron Clark on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
Ron Clark on working with Tom and Dick Smothers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour  and the censorship the show faced

Ed. Weinberger

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Ron Clark on working with Ed. Weinberger 

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